Posted by: webmaster | March 16, 2011

Chesco board casts stunning vote

Chesco board casts stunning vote
Posted: 03/16/2011 3:01 AM
By Kathleen Brady Shea
Inquirer Staff Writer


Bipartisanship at the Chester County commissioners’ meeting Tuesday prompted a vote that left one politician speechless.

For the first time that anyone can remember, a Democrat was elected vice-chair of the commissioners, a three-member board that has been controlled by Republicans since the Civil War era.

The motion to elect Democratic Commissioner Kathi Cozzone was made by Ryan Costello, a Republican named to a vacancy in February.

Costello, who is running for the seat in the fall, said he believed Cozzone’s 3-1/2 years of experience trumped the 3-1/2 weeks he had been on the job. Plus, he said he wanted to continue the cooperative spirit the board has demonstrated in the past.

“I think it removes any whiff of politics out of the air,” he said.

Costello’s motion was seconded by Commissioner Chairman Terence Farrell, who also cited Cozzone’s accomplishments.

“Can I make it third?” quipped a stunned Cozzone.

After acknowledging the oddity of a “politician relatively speechless,” Cozzone said she appreciated the recognition, even though the post is largely symbolic.

Whether it’s unprecedented is anyone’s guess.

“You’re certainly entitled to say you’re the first one in a very long time,” Costello said. He filled a vacancy created when former Commissioner Carol Aichele resigned to become Pennsylvania’s new secretary of state.

State Sen. Andrew E. Dinniman (D., Chester) said no Democrat has held that post for at least 50 years. He called the selection “smart and gracious.”

Dinniman, who served as a commissioner for 14 years, credited his victory in the 2006 state Senate race to the fact that he repeatedly tried and failed to get a title.

He said many Republicans told him they did not appreciate the unequal treatment he received and voted for him in the Senate contest.



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